by Sara Kendall, MSW, LICSW
Vice President of Clinical Operations for MHA
This past Sunday, Lady Gaga won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the song “Shallow” from the film “A Star Is Born” with Bradley Cooper. The film includes a scene that depicts suicide and Lady Gaga used her acceptance speech to make a statement about mental health. She said, “If you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away. And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you.”
Lady Gaga’s artistry and originality have won her legions of fans, and hopefully her Grammy platform helped to convey an important message to a wide and receptive audience. Emotional struggles can impact people of any age, race or gender, in any city, town or neighborhood, and from any walk of life—in short, anyone. An important part of why emotional struggles so often remain unaddressed is fear of the stigma surrounding treatment for mental health treatment. Too many people think that asking for help is something negative, but nothing could be more positive than feeling better.
If someone you know or love appears to be hurting, ask them about it. Show your interest. Make it clear that you care. There’s no wrong way to ask if someone needs help, and if you’re the one who’s hurting, there’s no wrong way for you to ask for help. The first step can be as simple as picking up a phone to begin a conversation. Explore some next steps that can be helpful for you or someone you care about. It may involve talking with a counselor, who is a health care professional who asks you questions and helps you figure out why you feel like you do—someone who listens to you without judging you. That conversation could take place in a mental health clinic, in a neutral community setting, or even in your home.
Another option could involve connecting you with a group of people who are experiencing something similar to you. Emotional struggles can make people feel alone in their experience and the worst thing you can do is to stay alone. Feeling alone can lead people to dangerous decisions such as alcohol and drug use, self-injurious behavior, thoughts of suicide and even attempting to take one’s own life. It may surprise you how helpful it is to be part of a group instead of feeling alone.
MHA is committed to helping people talk as openly about diagnosable mental health issues as we talk about any other health issue. Every day, we provide access to safe and welcoming spaces for people to talk about their emotions without fear, judgment or stigma. Whether you need someone to listen right now or want to make connections to services, we’re here for you.
BestLife, MHA’s new Emotional Health and Wellness Center at 153 Magazine Street in Springfield will be opening just a few weeks, but you don’t need to wait. If you’re hurting inside or know someone who is, ask for help. Ask now. Remember, there’s no right way to ask and the only thing wrong would be NOT asking.
Call us at 233-5343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer, go to www.mhainc.org and click your request to speak with someone. MHA has kind, patient staff who welcome people to safe supportive treatment for emotional wellness. Just ASK.